Best Museum Miami 2001 - Historical Museum of Southern Florida
People often say Miami has no history. Not true. And the Historical Museum of Southern Florida can prove it. This year's "Tropical Dreams" exhibition traces human activity in the region from the arrival of prehistoric peoples 10,000 years ago through the visit by Ponce de Leon in 1523, the building of Henry Flagler's FEC railroad in 1896, right up through the many waves of migration from the Caribbean and Latin America over the past century. Since its inception fifteen years ago, the museum's folklife program has documented the traditional arts of more than 60 communities, from the Seminoles to the Scottish, the Bahamians to the Nicaraguans. "At the Crossroads: Afro-Cuban Orisha Arts in Miami" put on display beadwork, ceremonial garments, altars, instruments, paintings, and ritual performance of more than twenty local artists in the Afro-Cuban religious tradition. Committed to involving the community, the museum conducts field research, hires local guest curators, and brings on the noise with feisty discussions, lively concerts, and overnight excursions, such as the ever-popular Everglades muckabout.